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The fake forgiveness the townspeople use to forgive the people they like is really easy, so they get to boast not only of their forgiving nature, but of how much nicer they are than those mean old priests who find forgiveness difficult and want penance along with it.
We have a lot of people – like the Emperor – boasting of being able to tolerate everyone from every outgroup they can imagine, loving the outgroup, writing long paeans to how great the outgroup is, staying up at night fretting that somebody else might not like the outgroup enough. It’s a total reversal of everything we know about human psychology up to this point. No one passed out weird glowing pills in the public schools. There’s a very boring sense in which, assuming the Emperor’s straight, gays are part of his “outgroup” ie a group that he is not a member of.
Someone who thinks divorce is abhorrent can “forgive” divorce.
You can forgive theft, or murder, or tax evasion, or something you find abhorrent.
They lecture the priest on the virtues of charity and compassion.
Later, it comes out that the beloved nobleman did not in fact kill his good-for-nothing brother.
He further notes that this is why the townspeople can self-righteously consider themselves more compassionate and forgiving than he is.